This is a sometimes 'cheesey' blog about British and American politics and anything else which tickles my fancy!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Tony Blair should be the next EU President

It’s a no brainer. Tony Blair should be the next president of the European Union.

He is the only candidate with the vision, stature and star quality to give the EU the credibility it needs.

As David Miliband rightly points out, we need an EU President who can “stop traffic”. Tony Blair is that man.

Contrary to what some media commentators have argued, he also proved himself as a committed Europhile when he was in office. So what, that the UK did not join the Euro under his watch? This is not the only defining characteristic of being a good European.

Under Blair, there was no more “awkward partner” or “empty chair” policy as there had been under John Major. Instead, we got a dynamic leader (who incidentally speaks French) who put the UK in the driving seat of European reform. On every issue ranging from European defence to the Budget to climate change to EU enlargement, the UK played a key role in shaping EU policy. This was thanks to Tony Blair. His contribution over ten years in power was invaluable.

The Left should support his candidacy because with Labour facing near certain electoral defeat next year, we will need a strong counterweight to what will be a viscerally bonkers anti-EU Tory Government. A Tony Blair presidency makes David Cameron’s job a lot harder. We should relish that.

Blair is also a naturally outward looking leader and this is what the EU needs. There would be little or no institutional introspection with him. Good. He would be very clear about his goals and achieving them. He could not be ignored in the capitals of Beijing, Moscow or Delhi.

After Bill Clinton, he is probably the best political communicator going. If anyone can explain the Byzantine workings of the EU to ordinary voters, he can. As he demonstrated in Northern Ireland, he is also capable of the type of schmoozing and arm twisting that is an essential feature of EU business. Never underestimate Tony Blair’s ability to persuade people.

If EU leaders fail to choose Tony Blair, it will be a bad omen. It will show that they are not really serious about reforming the EU and making it a stronger actor in world affairs.

We should get behind a Blair presidency. It will be good for Europe and what is good for Europe is good for Britain.


Tony P said...

First of all - Blair's record on foreign affairs is one of the reasons voters in Britain are supremely cynical about politics and politicians.
The terrible misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan, with thousands killed, are his direct legacy.
How anyone can have any faith in his judgement on global matters after the mistakes he made, is beyond me.
True - he has fantastic qualities as a communicator and still has star quality.
However, we have moved on now and need serious leaders with integrity and judgement to deal with the massive problems we face, globally.
Blair had his chance to make a difference and fluffed it because of his belief in his own moral superiority.
He is brilliant, but flawed, where it matters.
His religious zealotry only adds to the question marks over his future as a world leader.
Secondly, what is remotely democratic about using him to subvert the will of the British people if they vote Tory in the next election?
Subverting their will with a cosy deal hatched up by his old mates in the corridors of power, who he can schmooze with his undoubted charm?
What, Alex, is democratic about that?
We were seduced by Blair in the past, we should not be seduced again.
We need to learn from his mistakes...

Anonymous said...

I know Blair is not the brightest of blokes and his degree wasn't that good, but to call him a no brainer is a bit unfair.

Tim said...

Tony P has got it right, Blair had his chance and he blew it. I live in Northern Ireland and I appreciate his contribution to the peace process but his dealing with Iraq is totally off the wall. He fell for the glamour and make the biggest mistake of his career. Clinton was flawed so was Blair, the power does not sit well with the charismatics. It seems right mow that Barack Obama might be another clinton/blair type. I no longer hope that good communicators and charismatic people can do the right thing.